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Why are bright, colorful things so cheerful and why is America so afraid of them? I've spent my whole life becoming fascinated by color and it's combinations, from fingerpaintings to oil paintings to colorful gemstone jewelry. I've often wondered why so many cultures embrace and celebrate color while my own seems to suppress and marginalize it. In Mexico, colorful living is standard practice, a way of releasing control over their lives and giving it back to God. In America, only the fringe live colorfully: artists, bohemians, hippies. Here, a colorful outfit is a sign of a dangerous mind, of an impulsive rule-breaker, of someone who's not afraid to stick out.
My mom had us playing with color as far back as I can remember. She'd set us up at the kitchen table with watercolors or crayons and we'd just go to town for hours! I remember that new boxes of sharp crayons or pristine, unmuddied watercolor sets were the most exciting presents. I used to get so distressed when, in my haste, I'd muddied up a once bright yellow pan of watercolor. Mom would always swoop in with a napkin and resuscitate my sunny friend. I suppose that this early training predisposed me to a love of colorful things.
Now I know that color exists in America, but the "adult" and the "professional" and the normal rhythm of our society lean toward quiet, somber, dignified colors. The next time you're in a crowd - look around - most outfits are composed of dark blues, greys, blacks, white, beige, khaki and forest and olive greens with the occasional red accent thrown in. Take a look at all those cars out on our roads - they paint the same picture. The next neighborhood you drive around - check out the house colors - equally drab. A culture of people who, by and large, play it safe and follow the rules and believe in protocol and proper conduct. Good news for personal safety, bad news for beauty.
The wonderful colors found everywhere in Mexican society are a natural extension of their whole cultural attitude of freedom and taking chances.
There should be more color holidays... granted Black Friday doesn't have much to do with color, so much as it is the firing of the starting pistol for holiday shoppers. The closest relevance to the color black comes in the day's connection to putting businesses in the "black," which at least has to do with ink color.
Black Friday, in the United States, is the day following Thanksgiving. It signifies the beginning of all-out consumer madness: the Holiday Shopping season.
There are a few historical tidbits related to how the name 'Black Friday' came about. From Wikipedia:
As a term it has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869. The earliest known reference to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication in Philadelphia:
JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.
GREEN said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves - without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
BLUE interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
YELLOW chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
In 2005, Chris Lindland started the San Francisco-based company Cordarounds with a simple pair of corduroy pants. But before you write that off as totally boring, consider that these pants come with a little innovation--a horizontal wale. A range of earth tones from the outside, the pants also boast patterned waistband and pocket linings that peek out with bright whimsy. It's all a little nod to the way a hipster can make the fusty cool again, and it's marketed with a serious dose of appropriate irony ("Horizontal corduroy lowers drag," "Drastically lower your crotch heat index," etc.).
A little crude? Yeah. But Cordarounds have caught on, and Lindland's business has blossomed. Now, under the moniker Betabrand, Cordarounds have been joined by a full lineup of limited-edition pants, jackets, accessories and the Black Sheep Sweater, made from the undyed wool of black sheep.
We're fortunate to have guest authors Megan Fizell & Cassandra Edlefsen share their collaborative colour series here on COLOURlovers. Their monthly colour project considers select artworks featuring one predominant colour within the context of the pigment’s history and in relation to natural edible form. Read more about the project at the bottom of this post. You can find the original articles on Feasting on Art. The one below is located here.
In the mid-16th century, Spain began importing a vibrant red pigment from the New World that was so highly sought after that the source was held as a national secret. The dye was extracted from the blood of a female cochineal, a wingless insect that lives upon the leaves of the prickly pear. The dye was so valued that in the late 18th century, a French spy by the name of Nicolas Joseph Thierry de Menonville, snuck into the Spanish territory and successively procured a living specimen. The cochineal insect is closely related to the Indo-European kermes bug. Kermes insects live upon the scarlet oak and the red dye they produce was the most expensive pigment in the middle ages and very valuable to the Romans. According to Victoria Finlay, author of Colour: travels through the paintbox, “for many cultures red is both death and life – a beautiful and terrible paradox.” The connotations this colour, often made from the blood of insects, is embodied in Claude Monet’s Still Life: Quarter of Beef. This painting of a dead animal is created – is given life – through the death of the cochineal insect; yet represents a food source that sustains life. The small canvas represents the cyclical and paradoxical nature of the colour red.
[Claude Monet, Still Life: Quarter of Beef (Nature morte : le quartier de viande vers), c.1864
oil on canvas, 24 x 33 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris]
What have you done or what are you planning on doing with your wedding dress?
Meet Erin. She's done a terrific job of transforming her wedding dress into a reusable keeper. Not only has she had it re-structured to be a sexy cocktail dress, but she's added a unique element that I haven't seen anyone else do yet–she's re-coloured and added a hand-painted design.
I had the opportunity to interview Erin a little on her entire dress experience from purchase, to wedding day, to finished cocktail dress.
These days, you'd have to live under a rock to miss the Mad Men fashion discussion. Costume designer Janie Bryant--who combines vintage and hand-created period clothing for the characters of the 1960s advertising world--has been credited with changing the face of late-2000s fashion, and it isn't a stretch. Recent runways have featured full skirts and nipped waists and shifts that celebrate women's curves, shedding modern light on dressing up.
But for all the focus on buttoned-up, ladylike splendor, there's at least one woman highlighting the fun of Mad Men's fashion, too.
Freelance illustrator and designer Dyna Moe (depicted in the self-portrait on the right) started inking kitschy Mad Men illustrations when actor Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane on the show, asked Moe to create a Christmas card. She decided to mock the advertising illustration of the era, and pressed on with it, illustrating a scene from every episode and posting them all on Flickr. (She was also behind the popular Mad Men Yourself avatar). She drew for three seasons, and last month, Penguin culled Moe's illustrations, along with era-related features, for Mad Men: The Illustrated World.
Perfect timing! I just came across this wedding from one of my photographer's (friend & client), Micah Williams who is located in Atlanta, Georgia. For those of you thinking about a Fall wedding, I adored some of the simple ideas and colour palettes that made up this wedding.
I realize these aren't scary carved or painted pumpkins, but they still remind me of Halloween. I love them! This was the entrance to the farm where the wedding was held.
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